ShareThis Page

Duquesne proposes its own host fee

| Thursday, March 13, 2014, 4:56 a.m.

Duquesne officials want to impose a $500,000 host fee on the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport.

Mayor Phil Krivacek made the city's wishes public during Wednesday's council meeting, nearly three months after sending a letter to the municipal authority board.

The letter indicates council's intent to establish a “reasonable host fee” during its February meeting. That action did not occur because Duquesne officials have yet to hear back from anyone representing McKeesport's municipal authority.

With McKeesport already charging a $1 million host fee of the regional authority, Krivacek said Duquesne should have the same privilege to recoup its costs associated with maintaining a local plant.

“The same level of service is provided by the city of Duquesne,” Krivacek said. “We plow. We cut grass. We have police and fire services here in Duquesne.”

Duquesne signed its sewage treatment plant, located under the Thompson Run Bridge where Route 837 intersects with N. Duquesne Avenue, over to the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport in November 2010.

In addition to funds brought in by that sale, Duquesne officials said their city deserves to be compensated for its police, fire, code enforcement and administrative services associated with the treatment facility's location.

When McKeesport imposed its fee on the municipal authority in 2012, it was established as an intergovernmental cooperation agreement that included shared equipment and infrastructure improvement costs.

Led by North Versailles Township officials, some municipalities served by the authority took issue with it and threatened the pursuit of legal action, assuming the fee would cause sewage rates to increase.

Duquesne Solicitor Patricia McGrail said she believes the root of those complaints is in the perception that McKeesport's fee is inflated.

“In this particular case, I think we've reasonably related the amount of the fee to the services provided,” McGrail said. “I think other municipalities have (taken issue) with the $1 million amount of McKeesport's host fee.”

Krivacek said Duquesne residents already have seen rate increases that are “excessive and unwarranted.” Previous rates were $5.75 for every 1,000 gallons. Now, residents are charged $25 for the first 2,000 gallons and $7.95 per additional thousand gallons.

“It is unrealistic for the authority to raise these rates when our residents continue to struggle to pay for sewage at the previously established rates,” Krivacek wrote.

Duquesne council intends to enact an ordinance in which the $500,000 will be payable to the city by June 30 of each year. Because the fee was not established by January of this year, council said the fee will be prorated based on the date of its approval.

McKeesport officials could not be reached for comment at presstime.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.